22 October 2018
Facebook and Google
Google is always a go to place for people to look up answers they don’t know, and Facebook keeps people connected to family and friends. In the article “I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me.” the author Roger Mcnamee goes on to express the major destruction that these companies are bringing to society. Roger Mcnamee received his Master of Business Administration at the Tuck School of Business and became an American businessman, investor, and venture capitalist. He later became an analyst at T. Rowe Price Group Inc. and proceeded to lead the firm’s Science and Technology Fund. This article specifically entails the downfalls that come with Google and Facebook. In this paper I will discuss two major strategies, analyze one source Mcnamee uses in the text, analyze one assumption he makes, and evaluate one of his strengths within the article.
One of the strategies that Mcnamee used in his article that really stood out to me was the act of comparing Google and Facebook with gambling techniques and also comparing them to heroin, alcohol, and nicotine addictions. For example he says that these companies “[borrow] techniques from the gambling industry, Facebook, Google and others exploit human nature, creating addictive behaviors that compel consumers to check for new messages, respond to notifications, and seek validation from technologies whose only goal is to generate profits for their owners.” (Mcnamee P3). This is extremely persuasive because people know that gambling, as well as nicotine alcohol and heroin, is extremely dangerous because it can become super addictive. It gets people to realize that even though they may not know they are addicted, they very well could be or at least on track to be. Personally I think this strategy is extremely effective because I would have never thought of google as an addictive source. Once I saw the comparison to gambling, I understood how it could be seen as addictive. This is just one of the strategies Mcnamee used to persuade his readers why Google and Facebook are so addictive.
Another strategy that Mcnamee uses in his text is the appeal to pathos. He does a very good job of getting people to become afraid of these companies after reading his article. He does this by providing words that invoke fear within the reader. The use of words like “terrified” “exploit” “compel” and “brain hacking” do a fantastic job at installing fearful emotions and getting people to continue reading the article. This technique of appealing to one’s emotions is super compelling to the audience because it is a subtle way of getting people to feel their real emotions. When people are emotionally connected they start to become more susceptible to believing what they are reading. He also appeals to pathos by saying “[u]sers fail to recognize the warning signs of addiction until it is too late.” (Mcnamee). The audience can relate to this because they may think back to a family member or friend that has had an addiction in the past. This can make readers have every powerful emotions and feel like the article relates directly to them. The appeal to pathos is overall a good strategy to use when trying to persuade an audience because emotions are very serious and powerful. Mcnamee does a good job using this strategy throughout his article.
Sources are a very important element when writing a persuasive article. Throughout Mcnamee’s article he cites many different sources that help to provide evidence for the readers. One specific source that stood out to me was “[a] 2013 study found that average consumers check their smartphones 150 times a day.” After researching where this source came from, I discovered that this is a very helpful statistic that is coming from a reliable source. It is extremely important to have sources that are trustworthy because readers will disregard any article if it is telling them misinformation. When clicking on the link that the article provides, it takes you to a website ending in .net. The most reliable and official websites usually end in .com, .org, and .net. Just by looking at this element, along with others, I can tell that this is a source that is going to give me correct information that I can reference if I need to.
The main focus of this article would no doubt be Facebook and Google. It is safe to say that Mcnamee assumes that anyone reading this article uses google and facebook. However, it is not safe to say that everyone cares about, values, or even uses these apps. Assumptions can be dangerous when writing an essay directed towards anyone who reads it. An assumption is defined as “a thing that is accepted as true or as certain to happen, without proof.” according to Google, ironic. In Mcnamees article he made an assumption without thinking about who may continue reading or who might stop. Some readers may not even have the Facebook app or use Google. In this case they wouldn’t even bother reading it due to the title. In Mcnamees defense, nowadays majority of society is into social media and uses Google and Facebook. He attempts to bring people in by the title he uses. He establishes credibility and trustworthiness in his title “I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me.” because he is insinuating that he was on the companies side until he realized they were destructing society. Right off the bat people who are reading know that he is being real and honest throughout his article. Overall Mcnamee’s assumption was fairly safe but being careful with assumptions is essential to a well rounded persuasive article.
In this article there are several strengths and weaknesses to consider. One strength I saw was Mcnamee’s use of a rhetorical question. This strategy is very influential to the readers because it gets them critically thinking about the question being asked. When talking about companies trying to consume more and more of your time, Mcnamee asks “[h]ow does this work?” After this question, readers are forced to pause and this how it actually does work and come up with their own ideas first. Then the article follows up on the question with a stat about how much those companies actually consume time out of your day. Rhetorical questions are often very subtle and when you are reading an article most of the time you don’t even realize it is affecting you. Mcnamee did a good job integrating this question into his article and he knew exactly how to persuade people with it. This is why rhetorical questions make a piece of writing better in many ways.
All in all the article “I invested early in Google and Facebook. Now they terrify me.” written by the author Roger Mcnamee does a good job at persuading the readers for several reasons. He uses many tactical strategies such as comparison, appeal to pathos, and rhetorical questions that help shape the article as a whole. He also does a great job using outside sources to show factual evidence about what he is trying to persuade. Lastly he makes assumptions about the readers which is not always a bad thing. After analyzing his article, I think he did an overall good job persuading his audience.
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